Star Trek - To Boldly Go...

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Star Trek - To Boldly Go...

Post  BoG on Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:01 pm

To Boldly Go...

_____STAR TREK - The Legacy______

Or, for an alternate lighter touch in music, here is - BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY on STAR TREK:

The rim of the star-light
My love
Is wand'ring in star-flight
I know
He'll find in star-clustered reaches
Strange love a star woman teaches.
I know
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.

------------------------------the above is the Theme from STAR TREK
___________________________Lyrics by Gene Roddenberry

Yes, Roddenberry was something of a poet - no surprise. But, he also did his math. I think most of us are familiar with the old formula or some variation: If you take the estimated total stars in our galaxy (100 billion) and start applying small percentages, say, that only 10% of those have planets orbiting them; and that only one in a million of those have life... you still end up with a lot of planets supporting life. When Roddenberry first put together his proposal for a new TV series, he actually used the entire universe for the formula, using figures of one in a billion; since the # of stars in the entire universe is virtually infinite, he ended up with about 2.8 to the 29th power number of planets capable of supporting oxygen-carbon life.

     supposed Astronomers' formula:

Roddenberry didn't have access to the actual equation at the time and made up his own (above). As others pointed out, a value to the 1st power just equals that value, so Roddenberry was indeed more of a poet than a mathematician. But, his overall scheme was in the right direction. The expanded Drake Equation is
where N is the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
R is the average rate of star formation in our galaxy;
fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets;
ne is the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets;
fℓ is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point;
fi is the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life;
fc is the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space;
nr or reappearance number: The average number of times a new civilization reappears on the same planet where
__ a previous civilization once has appeared and ended;
fm or METI factor: The fraction of communicative civilizations that actually engage in deliberate interstellar transmission;
and... L is the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space. Whew.

So, Roddenberry planned all this out; it wasn't just some stroke of luck that this show has endured as it did. Well, there was luck - the chemistry between the three leads/characters (the Kirk-Spock-McCoy trio) was like catching lightning in a bottle. Even the smaller roles were fortunate - Scotty and his caretaking of the ship's engines remains memorable and Chekov almost added Beatles-styled appeal. But, Roddenberry's plan of a 'Wagon Train to the Stars' or Horatio Hornblower in outer space was much more complex than many first realize...

Roddenberry's initial outline included a springboard to 3,000,000 worlds (that's a huge number for potential stories!); a patrol of the 9th Quadrant, beginning with Alpha Centauri and extending to the outer Pinial Galaxy limit; to confine landings to Class 'M' planets approximating Earth-Mars conditions; this patrol to accomplish:   

  • (a) Earth security via exploration of intelligence and social systems capable of threat and

  • (b) scientific investigation to add to Earth's body of knowledge of alien life forms and

  • (c) any required assistance to several Earth colonies in this quadrant, and enforcement of appropriate statutes affecting such Federated commerce vessels and traders as you may contact...
So, as one can see, it wasn't just this simple 'let's go thataway' attitude governing the show, as some were led to believe. Because of this format, the show attracted the top science fiction writers of the time (see mentions in various episodes). When I think of some of the most entertaining sci-fi stories I read as a youngster, whether in short story form or in places like EC Comics Weird Science-Fantasy comics, I conjure up images in my head of a rocketship in the background and a uniformed explorer with a hand weapon in the foreground, gazing out towards some alien landscape. THAT to me was the ultimate adventure. Star Trek captured a lot of that.
James Cameron's Avatar attempted to re-capture much of that sci-fi adventure of those old fantastic tales and didn't quite make it, inserting political messages of mankind's aggressively destructive , self-defeating nature. But, it's a strange and, perhaps, a wondrous thing, that it was this TOS show that first convinced me that we really were traveling with a crew on some starship, in space. Was it because I was at that younger age when I began to watch it? Maybe - and the show succeeded at this illusion more so than the later more sophisticated shows such as TNG and even the films. Was it because the Enterprise traveled through soundless vacuum as it was supposed to? Perhaps. I can't really pinpoint it. It could simply be, again, the natural reality of the characters, who seemed to BELONG out there, in deep space.

In a way, it's little wonder that the show spawned all that it did: the animated series in the seventies, numerous parodies/homages even at that early stage, 10 feature films with a new restart in 2009, the TNG series, the DS9 series, the Voyager series and the game prequel try Enterprise show. It is the ultimate story in many ways, chronicling our best possible future potential. Will we live up to such as this? It's doubtful - but there is always hope..

1st officer Spock and Capt. Kirk: cautious, wary but optimistically hopeful - an ideal mix?
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